Shooting ends in arrest
SILVERTHORNE – A 30-year-old Dillon man was arrested Saturday afternoon on charges of prohibited use of a weapon after he allegedly shot seven or eight rounds from a handgun behind the Blue River Apartments in Silverthorne.
According to Silverthorne Police Sgt. Mark Hanschmidt, Luis Humberto Mercado Barron was riding in a van with four or five others behind the apartments when he started shooting. The Blue River Apartments are located on Adams Street near the Elks Lodge. Because Barron allegedly shot at the hillside toward Ruby Ranch and not at a building or person, the charge is a misdemeanor, Hanschmidt said.
The person reporting the incident got a good description of the vehicle as it left the neighborhood, so police were able to apprehend Barron near Eddie Bear’s market on Sixth Avenue. The weapon, a .45-caliber handgun, was found in the back of the vehicle. Additionally, alcohol was found in the van, but no one was charged with alcohol offenses.
Hanschmidt attributed the fast apprehension to a strong Neighborhood Watch program established in the neighborhood within the past year.
“The positive thing is the neighborhood down there,” he said. “They’re not going to put up with any of this kind of stuff. Years ago, when something like this happened, it was hushed lips. No one would’ve said anything about it. Now, we have a strong Neighborhood Watch program, and we get a lot of reports.”
Most of those calls involve suspicious vehicles or people using or distributing drugs, drinking and driving or reckless driving, he said.
“It’s a positive thing that they’re calling us,” Hanschmidt said. “They’re taking responsibility for their neighborhood. A lot of that goes back to the Neighborhood Watch Program.”
The program is also in effect in Villa Sierra Madre – and it works.
“We had a situation where there were these guys at the Villa Sierra Madre storage lockers (who) stole some bikes,” Hanschmidt said. “Other kids saw this and told the manager, who contacted us and we caught the guys. That’s exactly what the program is designed to do. Here again, we have a guy who’s taken seven, eight shots at Blue River Apartments, and someone took the extra step and got a vehicle description that helped us find them.”
The Silverthorne Police Department is expanding its Neighborhood Watch Program one neighborhood at a time. Officers have spoken with the homeowners at Three Peaks, and hope to implement the next one in RiverBend behind the North Branch of the Summit County Library.
“We’re not the same old police department anymore,” Hanschmidt said. “We’re really working with the communities.”
He expects participation in the program again will be requested after Saturday’s shootings.
“When it (participation) is the weakest is when everything is going OK,” Hanschmidt said. “After this incident, our next Neighborhood Watch meeting – it’ll be a full house. Something happened in our neighborhood, and now people will be saying, “What can I do? How can I help?’ People who come to these meetings are the ones who are concerned about their neighborhood.”
Police are still trying to determine if the gun was registered to Barron and if he has a prior criminal history.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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